BY Alfred Koroma
A recent indicator on jobs gap published on Monday by the International Labour Organization (ILO) disclosed that 15 percent of working-age women around the world would like to work but do not have job compared with 10.5 percent of their male counterparts.
But the report says unemployment levels for both sexes are very similar because the criteria used to define unemployment tend to disproportionately exclude women.
The new data shows that women still have a much harder time finding a job than men, depicting a much bleaker picture of the situation of women in the world of work than the more commonly used unemployment rate.
Jobs gender gap in labour, ILO says, has remained stagnant for almost 20 years ( between 2005 and 2022).
And it is more serious in low-income countries where ILO says the proportion of women unable to find a job reaches 24.9, and the corresponding rate for men in the same category is 16.6 percent, a worryingly high level but significantly lower than that for women.
Personal and family responsibilities, including unpaid care work, disproportionately affect women and prevent them from gaining employment, the UN Labour Agency said.
Gender imbalances in decent work are not limited to access to employment, the Agency said. While vulnerable employment is widespread for both women and men, women tend to be overrepresented in certain types of vulnerable jobs.
They continue to be overrepresented in many vulnerable sectors, such as running their households or working for relatives, rather than for themselves which takes a toll on their earnings.
Globally, for each dollar of labour income men earn, women earned only 51 cents, the Agency says.
“There are significant differences between regions,” the brief finds. “In low and lower-middle income countries, the gender disparity in labour income is much worse, with women earning 33 cents and 29 cents on the dollar respectively. In high-income and upper-middle income countries, women’s relative labour income reaches 58 and 56 cents respectively per dollar earned by men,” the brief says. “This striking disparity in earnings is driven by both women’s lower employment level, as well as their lower average earnings when they are employed.”
ILO emphasized that gender imbalances in access to employment and working conditions are greater than previously thought, particularly in the developing world where the pace of progress is disappointingly slow.
The agency said the global unemployment rate stood at 5.8 per cent in 2022, below the average rates in the two decades before the pandemic, projecting it could remain at that level in 2023.